June 14, 2004
The Honorable DeForest Soaries, Jr.,
U.S. Election Assistance Commission
1225 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20005
Dear Chairman Soaries:
On behalf of the National Committee for Voting Integrity (NCVI), I would
like to commend you for your bold and decisive call for electronic voting
to make the underlying software code of electronic voting technology available
to election administrators. Your recommendation that election software be
open to inspection follows one of the principles that our committee has
being key to restoring trust in public elections.
Inspection of voting machines source code will go a long way in addressing
many of the concerns voiced by a majority of computing security experts.
as you know the Federal Election Standards currently being used to certify
voting technology are weak. Further, vendors have demonstrated a disturbing
of secretly loading uncertified versions of their voting software without
the knowledge or consent of election administrators.
For these reasons, we suggest that the evaluation should also include tabulation
software, firmware, and hardware used in optical scan and punch card voting
systems. Second, election administrators should allow qualified computer
to independently study the voting technology that vendors propose for public
elections. Third, the evaluation should be based on the software and firmware
that will be present on voting systems at the time of the election. Fourth,
the evaluation of the technology must also include recommendations of remedial
that should be taken if weaknesses are discovered in the underlying software,
firmware or hardware. Fifth, computer security experts should be able to
release executive summaries of their findings that do not disclose proprietary
about the systems they investigate.
Last, we suggest that prudent measures be taken under the advisement of computer
security professionals that may offer guidance to election administrators
regarding the use of electronic voting technology in the November election.
Our Committee would like to thank you for your efforts to bridge the communication
gap between election administrators, the industry, and technologists on the
issue of voting equipment security and reliability.
Peter G. Neumann
National Committee on Voting Integrity
Committee Members: Peter G. Neumman, Chair * David Burnham * David Chaum*
Cindy Cohn * Lillie Coney * David L. Dill * David Jefferson * Jackie Kane
W. Jones * Stanley A. Klein * Vincent J. Lipsio * Rebecca T. Mercuri * Justin
Moore * Jamin Raskin * Marc Rotenberg * Avi Rubin * Bruce Schneier * Paul
M. Schwartz * Barbara Simons * Sam Smith